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The 456GT - A quick review

Discussion in 'California (Southern)' started by Jet-X, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. Jet-X

    Jet-X F1 Veteran
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    Nov 2, 2003
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    Brian
    ....or "how I found my next Ferrari"

    Well, I got the priveledge (and believe me it was a priveledge!) not only to detail Byron's car, but to get behind the wheel briefly. For those that don't want to wade through this post, here's the conclusion: An underpriced, and under appreciated car!

    Exterior

    Like some Ferrari's, when this car was introduced (late '92), I was underwhelmed. I found it bland and low key, thinking of it as a souped up Japanese luxury car. But as time goes by, around '97, after seeing a barchetta red/tan car in person, it really began to grow on me. By 1998, when the "M" version was introduced, I fell in love. Not with the 456M, but the GT. The "M" really hammered home the Japanese luxury car look (IMHO). The 456 in my view took on a very subtle, yet aggressive form, very "Jekyll and Hyde" (you'll hear this again later) appearance. It could be subtle, but could be aggressive too. What disappointed me about the "M" model was the lack of hood vents. That made the car aggressive.

    And seeing the car in person, you really can see many lines in the car, much more than photographs have portrayed.

    Interior

    In a nutshell - comfortable, inviting, very much like a cockpit rather than the "luxury sedan" image the exterior portrays on first view. There is also a ton of leather in that car, far more than my Mondial's have ever had. It was definitely a lot of work to clean!

    What was surprising was how much passenger room there was. Granted I'm 6' 5", no one is sitting behind me. But Byron jumped in the backseat (and probably the only time he'll ever be back there ;) ) and my neighbor Ray jumped in the passenger seat, and everyone was comfortable. Byron commented a few times through our spirited journey how comfortable he was.

    Now, more room than my Mondial, but not a whole lot more. The driver and front passenger areas definitely have more room to 'stretch out' unlike my Mondial. The center console also allows a little bit of 'lazy shifting' (a glorified arm rest) but not much. Good thing, you don't want to be lazy in this car.

    The Drive

    Turn the key and "vrrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooooooooooooooom" that engine comes to life, and is helped by the Tubi, giving it that roar upon firing up, settling into a nice but noticeable purr.

    We (all three of us) headed out to La Paz, then the 5 freeway, coming back on Cabot road. Nice little trip.

    This car shifts smoothly and solidly, very similar (but smoother) than my Mondial. We headed down La Paz towards the 5 freeway, and I punched it while in first gear. Not very impressive for a 12 cylinder. Yes, that's not a typo, not impressive at all upon slamming the accelerator down to the floor (and likely wasting 50 gallons of fuel in the process). The car moved, but not in a way that made me go "oooohhh". My Mondial is more peppy than this car, and by a sizeable margin if you ask me...

    ....but those impressions are just to 4000 RPM

    ...at 4000 RPM (and climbing as fast as possible), this car went from subtle ho-hum Jekyll to "get the **** out of my way" Hyde. You'd think this car had turbos on it. At 4000 RPM, the car slams you back into the seat, lurches forward as if afterburners had just kicked in rocketing down the road trying to get airborne. I think in a former life, the metal in this car came from a jet.

    We got to the 5 on ramp, and just to test it again, same thing. Pedal to the floor, slow but progressing speed until 4000 RPM and BAM! This car takes off like a bat out of hell (8000 RPM and the power band drops fast).

    Those who water ski, it's like when the boat begins to pull you, once you are standing up, the boat really begins accelerating and you can feel the boat pulling you hard - that's what this car feels like. The steering wheel feels like the reins holding onto 468 horses desperately trying to get away from you.

    At speed on the freeway, it was fun to see people look over, then punch it and within 1 second, they're now 10 cars behind. This car is trouble with a capital T.

    Why?

    The lack of ooomph at less than 4000 RPM makes this car very civilized for city driving, but at greater than 4000 RPM, the immense feeling of speed and craziness that follows makes the driver (at least me) NOT want to take his foot off the accelerator. That's trouble. Why? Because all that fun comes at a price - possible law enforcement intervention. You quickly realize at 7500 RPM in second gear is pushing north of 80 MPH, and you haven't even hit 3rd gear yet.

    I've got $20 that says Byron gets a ticket in the next 6 months. I know I'd be busted in the first week.

    This car is better than a Disneyland "E" ticket ride, by a longshot.

    Conclusion

    A friggin' undervalued, under appreciated car. So much power, so much performance, so much comfort, at so little money! Yes you to can have a stable of wild horses that brings a **** silly grin every time you plow north of 4000 RPM for a little more than a Mondial.

    So, is my Mondial history? Not by a long shot. My car has one thing the 456 will never have in factory form - a convertible top. I love my car, but my next Ferrari will be a 456, and the 456 will be the bigger brother to my Mondial, living side by side in my garage one day. Maybe sooner than later after yesterday.

    What a great car, and I thank Byron for giving me the opportunity to see why he'll always have a **** silly grin every time I see him!

    Good call Byron!
     
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  3. jordan747_400

    jordan747_400 F1 Veteran
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    Dec 9, 2002
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    Sorry Byron, Im in on the bet with Brian here :)

    Now when I get my Ferrari? No matter how much self control I have on public streets, I KNOW I will get pulled over eventually. Parents wont be too happy :)
     
  4. Bmyth-FDC

    Bmyth-FDC F1 Rookie

    Oct 4, 2002
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    Byron
    Brian,
    You are right... trouble with a capital T!!
    And with my new BMC Air Filters (Thanks Costa!), it picks up a bit more on the low end now!!

    Ok ok...you're on, Brian & Jordan. 6months from today... make that 10/25...

    It was very fun detailing the car - thank you so much!! I need to have more friends like you! And it was certainly my pleasure to have you drive the car... I'm glad I was able to fulfill that inner urge!!

    Buy buy buy!

    Jordan - you will get yours really soon... I can feel it. And when you do, you ABSOLUTELY need to take me for a spin!! :)

    Byron
     
  5. F456 V12

    F456 V12 F1 Rookie
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    Mar 13, 2004
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    Nice review. Not sure I agree with your assessment of the 456GT below 4,000 RPM's. As an F owner, I'm sure you know how to drive...perhaps since this was not your car, you babied it. To say your Mondial is more peppy (LOL) at the lower end is counter to 8 cylinder Fcars. They develop all their power at higher RPMs. Maybe a few extra pounds in the car had an effect on your opinion, or perhaps because the 456 is more refined and less viseral. FWIW, I can launch my 456GT with the best of them and if I choose, can spin the tires going from 1st. to 2nd.

    THAT IS12 CYLINDER POWER you will never find in a stock V8

    Do you have a shop? Or were you just doing a favor for a friend? You are near where I live.

    MB
     
  6. Jet-X

    Jet-X F1 Veteran
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    Nope - not at all. Treated it same way as my car except when cornering.

    Having driven a 308GT4, 348, 355, 360, my car feels "peppier" at lower RPMs than the other 8-cylinder cars. I agree that the power is in the higher RPMs for those cars, but the Mondial t feels more consistent across the power range. I'm quite sure it has to do with the gearing of the cars, because they're all geared differently regardless of the fact that they share the same powerplants.

    I wouldn't disagree with that quote. But I wasn't about to drop the clutch on a car that I didn't own. My comments aren't in any way a slam on the 456 at all. In fact, I like that it has that viceral pull above 4000 RPM, yet can remain "civil" at less RPMs. That to me is a refined car that provides the best of both worlds.

    My Mondial (again, my opinion, not scientific fact) provides a steady pull from 1k RPM to redline, but never really does what Byron's 456 does (the civil to devilish difference at low vs. mid-high RPMs). At 5k RPM there's a slight kick of HP, but again, it's subtle enough to not matter (Mondial). A different car, a different feeling.

    Nah...was a favor since I love to detail cars. I'll do your car as a freebie (or buy me lunch or something). Bring it by on a weekend (allow a minimum of 3-4 hours to do a lot of the general basics).
     
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  8. jordan747_400

    jordan747_400 F1 Veteran
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    Dec 9, 2002
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    Jordan Witherspoon
    I wont give rides...I give all Fchatters (who want to) drives!!
     
  9. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Nice review Brian - I agree that the 456 is under appreciated.

    Missed you at CC - Will give you a ride next time. :)
     
  10. Jet-X

    Jet-X F1 Veteran
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    Thanks - I wanted to come, but my kid was up 4 times that night, almost to the minute (hourly). I can't make it this Saturday, but next no problem.
     
  11. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

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    Sounds good, cya then.
     
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  13. Jet-X

    Jet-X F1 Veteran
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    (bump)

    Thread is over 4 years old which means I'm 4 years late in getting a 456GT.

    I said a sad goodbye to my Mondial on Saturday and now have a 456GT.
     
  14. Modenafan

    Modenafan F1 World Champ
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    Dec 19, 2004
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    Congrats on the 456. I'm sure you'll drive it how it was meant to be driven. :)
     
  15. Jet-X

    Jet-X F1 Veteran
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    Some serious flogging is in order :D
     
  16. SilverF20C

    SilverF20C Formula 3

    Jun 22, 2004
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    Congrats B! Did you pick up Byron's or another one. What color combo, details, etc? Enjoy!
     
  17. numisrx

    numisrx Formula Junior

    Jul 4, 2007
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    Wayne
    Congrats!

    I've been a ferrari owner for a little over a year (360) and often think about which model to park next to it. Your great review makes me want to look closer at the 456.

    And post some pics!
     
  18. Dom

    Dom F1 Veteran
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    Nov 5, 2002
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    Congratulations!!! Pics? Was this the 456 that Claudio was selling?

    Dom
     
  19. Jet-X

    Jet-X F1 Veteran
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    It was a rather 'notorious' 456 (lots of questions surrounding it). But it's Azzurro Monaco with very light gray interior. The one that Claudio has is still available if anyone is interested.
     
  20. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

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    Congrats - I like the color you got!
     
  21. frank4cars

    frank4cars F1 Rookie

    Dec 9, 2004
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    Congrats Brian! I really love the 456. Totally agree about it being underappreciated. Drive it in good health buddy.
     
  22. mrpcar

    mrpcar Formula 3

    May 27, 2007
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    Another word for under valued = bang for the buck!
     

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